Organic optimization is for the long-term health and wellness of your website. Paid search is for quick one-time promotions, seasonal campaigns and anything that has a start and stop date. If SEO is a marathon, paid search is a sprint.
We want to continually optimize our site with quality, unique and sharable content, sending signals to the search engines that we're an authority on our subject matter. The idea being that our site will be served for a query because we’ve proved to the search engines that we know what we’re talking about.
If we’re interested in having our website showing up for a search term like "breakfast burritos", we need to have a great deal of quality content on the subject of breakfast burritos. This, among other things, will increase the likelihood that we'll be found for that particular search term.
Despite all this, we find skepticism around organic search engine optimization every now and then. Some people don't believe it's a worthwhile investment, while others doubt the entire process. Given the wealth of information out there surrounding good SEO tactics, why do so many people doubt it?
1. ‘Google Doesn't Like SEO’
For those who don't have their finger on the pulse of the search world, the term “SEO” may be synonymous with outdated black-hat tactics like keyword stuffing. You remember that, right? In order to appear in the search rankings for “vacuum sales Chicago” you were told to include that exact term as many times as possible in your content.
“Visit us for the best vacuum sales Chicago. Our vacuum sales Chicago personnel are ready to serve you for all your vacuum sales Chicago needs!”
Sure, using key terms is still important, but they’re not weighed nearly as heavily as they once were. To the contrary, if Google finds a site that is over-optimizing their website with keyword stuffing, they will likely punish this site for such tactics.
Search engines have moved on, and keyword stuffing, along with many other spammy tactics, are now frowned upon. Without knowing what has replaced these tactics, some people may be left thinking search engines don't like SEO.
This couldn't be further from the truth. Search engines need and want people to use SEO best-practices; it makes their jobs easier if content is properly organized, categorized, and labeled. And staying up to date with Google’s algorithm changes will allow you to understand why Google insists that you ‘play by the rules’.
Think of Google, or any search engine, as a matchmaker. Their job is to find the correct match for a specific query, which is why it’s so important that Google understands what each site is about. Google needs to know that you are indeed an authority on the subject matter in question. To optimize your website for search is to organize your content in a way that it can be properly crawled and indexed by search engines.
And this is the primary difference between what SEO was, and what it now is. It used to be a method many would use to convince search engines they were relevant, even if they weren’t. Now, SEO is used to create transparency between the website and its audience.
2. ‘SEO Is Dead’
The Guardian. Entrepreneur. Forbes. Each of these well-respected business publications has, at various times over the last two years, proclaimed that (or asked if) SEO is dead. If you're not reading SEO industry publications to combat these point, it would be easy to understand why you might assume SEO really is dead. And why care about something that's dead? (Sorry, Fluffy.)
Why care? Because SEO is not dead, the rules have simply changed. SEO is not a clever tactic that stopped working and fell by the wayside, but rather a foundational cornerstone of any good digital marketing strategy. Just because the approach that certain ‘experts’ used 5 years ago no longer works doesn’t mean that SEO has died—it simply grew up and you may not recognize it any longer.
Maybe it's time to learn about the current tactics and refamiliarize yourself with SEO. The more you know, the more you'll be able to cut through the noise and find people that truly know how to provide you with a service that delivers real results.
3. ‘If I Don't Get Ranked #1, It's Not Working’
If someone tells you that they can get you ranked first in Google’s SERPs in no time flat, just thank them for their time and walk away. It takes time to get to the top of an organic list, especially in competitive niches. Remember, you need to send the proper signals to search engines that you’re an authority on your subject matter, and that doesn’t happen overnight.
While it's true that the #1 spot receives the most clicks, just getting to page 1 is an undertaking and should not be taken lightly. After you find yourself on page 1, you may still be in position #9 or #10 at the bottom of the page, and it’s a long-haul to #1 but that's OK! When you hit page 1 you’ll start to see the return on your investment. It’s been stated that up to 94% of will click on the 1st page results, and as little as 6% click on results from page 2.
Fighting for the first few positions on page 1 is where the real fight is. In most markets, anyone in the first 3-5 search result listings is not there by accident. They’ve fought long and hard to get there, and are probably actively engaged in SEO best-practices to try and inch beyond their competitors.
Getting to that elusive #1 spot takes time. It's a marathon, not a sprint. Stick with it and you'll see improvement the whole way.
4. ‘I've Already Done SEO Before’
While a one-time SEO push might sound like a good effort, lasting results aren't likely to come from a one-off campaign. As competitors advance their efforts and search algorithms change, you'll quickly lose ground again.
Search engine optimization isn't like painting your house; doing it once every ten or so years isn't going to cut it. Search engines change their algorithms and ranking tactics all the time in an effort to serve you better results. The best way for a business to maintain a strong presence is to pay attention to the trends and view SEO as an ongoing process.
Any contemporary marketing strategy must include content development as one of the fundamental vehicles for improving organic search ranking. The act of generating relevant, unique and quality content for your users to consume and share sends the proper signals to search engines and works to support your role as a subject matter expert, making your site an influential resource.
Consistently developing content on your subject matter is one of the foundational tactics for improving organic visibility. Search engines will rank your site in the SERPs according to how often you are generating content, especially if the content is being shared on a variety of platforms.
#5 ‘I’ve Been Burned Before’
Unfortunately, the industry has suffered a great amount of backlash due to so many unqualified ‘experts’ making promises they couldn’t keep. Many of the prospects that come through our door have been burned before, and half of the challenge is to ‘talk them off the ledge,’ letting them know that all SEOs are not equal.
Trust is a huge factor when deciding who to work with; if you don’t trust your SEO agency, don’t work with them. But if you do, you need to commit to their cause and give them the freedom they need to do the job right.
Do Your Research And Find The Right Agency
Yes, there are spammy companies out there who assume you're clueless and aim to leave you out of pocket with little to show for it. Do your due diligence, and keep yourself ‘in the know’. Ask questions and do your homework. If your agency is elusive, demand answers. If they don’t (or worse, can’t) answer your questions, they don’t deserve your business.
But fear not, there's also a thriving industry of professionals who want to do right by their clients (and the search overlords we all strive to please). If you've got your doubts about SEO, contact us! We'll happily answer your questions and put your concerns to rest.